Last year we began a new course for students interested in community development and culture in Appalachia, one that included a week-long living and learning experience at the Clearfork Community Institute (CCI) in Eagan, Tennessee. So this year’s course makes Part Two, and we departed from Auburn yesterday morning for the Appalachia Studies Association conference at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. On the way we stopped at Cumberland Falls State Park to view the 60+ foot waterfall, one known for its unique moonbow that can be seen under a full moon and clear sky.
This year’s class is joined by 2010 class participants Rachel Naftel and Ballard Jones, both of whom spent the summer following the class as interns with CCI. Rachel (who led a team of students back to the community following the spring semester to execute a project with local folk) and Ballard are on the program of the ASA conference and will present tomorrow morning on their experiences in a session titled “Living and Learning Experiences as Education IN and FOR Democracy.” They’ll be joined by CCI director Marie Cirillo and CCI volunteer and educator Carol Judy. So our new students have a chance to hear the latest in interdisciplinary scholarship on the region AND hear their peers present on their experience. Pretty good combination.
The ASA conference is unlike most academic conferences. As I write in the library of EKU, I’m listening to a trio of stringed instruments held by some local folk, and the guy on the banjo is quite good. Later tonight the local arts council is hosting a square dance, and we’ll have a chance to check out the rhythm of our group.
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